TN 8 (02-05)
GN 03930.020 Petitioning for Approval of a Fee for Services Provided in Proceedings Before SSA
A. Policy - Who May File
The person, either an attorney or non-attorney, whom the claimant appointed in writing to act on his/her behalf in pursuing a claim or asserted right before SSA may file a fee petition unless:
the representative was previously authorized to receive a fee for his/her services on that claim based on an approved fee agreement, or
the representative submitted a contingency fee contract (i.e., agreed to charge and collect a fee only if SSA favorably decides the claim) and SSA’s decision is unfavorable.
Except in the above circumstances, any duly appointed representative, including a former representative, may request a fee for the services he/she actually provided in pursuing the claimant’s benefit rights in proceedings before SSA.
We will not accept or process fee petitions submitted on behalf of the appointed representative, including fee petitions submitted with a power of attorney. Return to the appointed representatives (unprocessed) any fee petitions submitted by a firm or other person. Annotate the document and alert the appointed representative that we will take no action until he or she submits a fee petition.
Refer to GN 03930.020C.6. if the representative dies before filing a petition.
B. Policy - More than One Person Provided Services
Under the fee petition process, each representative who wants to charge and collect a fee for his/her services must file a fee petition.
1. Claimant Appointed One or More as Representative
a. Representative's Assistant Provided Services
A representative may delegate certain tasks to another person whom the representative supervises and directs, as GN 03910.025 explains. (GN 03910.025 and GN 03305.025 discuss disclosure.) The representative files a single fee petition that includes the services of his/her unappointed assistant.
A representative may associate with another representative or co-counsel whom the claimant also appointed, as GN 03910.040D. explains. An agreement between the two representatives about the fee for services does not control SSA's fee authorization. Each must file a fee petition to obtain SSA's approval of any fee for his/her services.
2. Different Claimants Represented
Representatives who provided services for different claimants in the same case file separate fee petitions.
C. Policy - Filing the Petition
1. Form of Petition
a. Form SSA-1560
A representative may petition for fee approval using the Form SSA-1560 (Petition For Authorization To Charge And Collect A Fee For Services Before The Social Security Administration)(see GN 03930.155), which solicits the information listed in GN 03930.020C.3.
b. Another Written Form
A representative also may petition for fee approval by providing, in writing, the information listed in GN 03930.020C.3. through GN 03930.020C.5.
2. Number of Petitions - Concurrent Case
Pursuant to SSR 83-27, the representative files one fee petition covering all of the services he/she provided in connection with both the titles II and XVI programs when all of the following circumstances apply:
The concurrent titles II and XVI claims, or postentitlement or post-eligibility (PE) actions, involved a common substantive issue (e.g., disability).
Although some services may have been unique to the title II or XVI claim or PE action, most of the representative's services focused on resolving the common issue, and the representative did not perform two sets of services different in most respects.
The services the representative provided led to favorable determinations or decisions in both cases.
(See GN 03930.010B. about determining the fee.)
3. Information Required
The representative must furnish all of the following information in the petition:
The dates his/her services began and ended;
The services he/she provided (e.g., preparation of correspondence, research, travel and attendance at the hearing);
The amount of time he/she spent on each type of service;
Meeting with client (.5 hr.)
Telephone calls with client and claims representative (.25 hr.)
Preparation of brief (1.75 hr.)
The amount of the fee he/she wants to charge for the services;
The amount of the fee he/she wants to request or charge for services provided in the same matter before any State or Federal court;
The amount of money, if any, the representative received toward payment of the fee and has held in a trust or escrow account;
The amount(s), and a list, of any expenses the representative incurred for which he/she has been paid or expects to be paid; and
A statement affirming that the representative sent a copy of the petition and any attachment(s) to the claimant.
4. Additional Requirement - Non-Attorney Representative
SSA may ask a representative who is not an attorney to furnish a description of the special qualifications that enabled him/her to provide the claimant with valuable help. SSA may ask this whether the representative used the Form SSA-1560-U4 or another form.
5. Additional Requirement - Legal Guardian
As GN 03920.010E. explains, a representative who is a legal guardian, committee, conservator, or other State court-appointed representative also must furnish copies of:
his/her fee request of the court;
his/her accounting to the court; and
either the court's declination to order a fee, or the court's order(s) of fees for his/her services as legal guardian during the same period in which the representative provided services in proceedings before SSA.
SSA will require this information whether the representative used the Form SSA-1560-U4 or another form.
6. Representative Dies Before Filing Petition
If the representative dies before he/she files a fee petition, only the executor of the deceased’s estate, or the individual recognized by the State as the representative of the estate, may request SSA to authorize the fee the deceased’s estate may charge and collect for services the deceased provided to the claimant in proceedings before SSA.
NOTE: If the representative dies before SSA makes direct payment to the representative, SSA may issue the payment only to the executor or other person the State recognizes as the representative of the deceased representative’s estate.
7. When to File
The representative files the petition for fee approval only after he/she has completed providing services for the claimant and any auxiliary beneficiary(ies) in a title II claim or the claimant and the claimant’s eligible spouse in a title XVI claim. The representative who has ended his/her services may file the petition before SSA effectuates a determination or decision. (GN 03910.060 discusses when a representative's authority expires.) Multiple fee petitions for the same services are not appropriate, even if additional past-due benefits are payable.
b. Direct Payment Consideration
There is no time limit within which a representative must petition. However, in order to obtain direct payment of all or part of an authorized fee from withheld title II and/or title XVI past-due benefits, the representative who is eligible for direct payment should file the petition, or a written notice of his/her intent to petition, within 60 days after the date of the first notice of the favorable determination or decision. (See GN 03920.017C., Policy - Title II - Direct Payment to Representatives; GN 03920.017D., Policy - Title XVI - Direct Payment to Representatives; and GN 03930.001C.7., Representative Eligible for Direct Payment.)
EXAMPLE: There are multiple claims on one account, and the representative does not expect to complete his services and petition within 60 days after the date of the first notice of favorable determination. Therefore, he files, within the 60-day period, a written notice of intent to petition when his services have ended.
8. How to File
The representative must give the claimant a copy of the petition and any attachment(s) before filing the original with the appropriate SSA office.
If he/she uses Form SSA-1560 – computer printed form, the representative:
9. Where to File
Although the representative may file at any SSA office, generally he/she files the petition(s) with the SSA office shown below.
If a court or the Appeals Council issued the decision, the representative sends the petition for administrative services to: Office of Analytics, Review, and Oversight
ATTN: Attorney Fee Branch, Suite 805
5107 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3255
If an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued the decision, the representative sends the petition to the ALJ, using the hearing office address.
In other title II only and concurrent titles II and XVI cases, the representative sends the petition to the processing center address that appears at the top right of the claimant's title II notices (e.g., the notice of award or notice of disapproved claim).
In title XVI only cases, the representative sends the petition to the servicing field office (FO).
NOTE: The servicing FO will forward the fee petition and the title XVI claims file to the servicing PC. Refer to GN 03930.015, Responsibility for Authorizing Fees Under the Fee Petition Process for Services Provided in Proceedings Before SSA – Jurisdiction, and GN 03930.025, Receipt and Routing of Fee Petitions.